Autumn Gardens in Wales
From berried trees and rich autumn foliage to gardens with castles and mountains as their backdrop, here are the best Welsh gardens to visit this season.
The National Botanic Garden of Wales, voted the number one garden to visit in Wales’ by BBC Gardeners’ World in 2010 has several important plant collections which are not only unique to Wales but to the rest of the world. Portmeirion’s Italianate garden has been described as one of the most magical gardens in the world. The 26-acre gardens at Powis Castle are no less impressive, with billowing borders and enormous clipped yews and a spectacular castle backdrop. Bodnant Garden has a spectacular location on the river Conwy with a stunning mountain views of Snowdonia. At Aberglasney House and Gardens, many of the trees and shrubs are planted specifically for their distinctive seasonal colours.
1) Aberglasney Garden
At this time of the year, the gardens are awash with rich autumnal colours from sorrel trees, nyssa, cornus and more. Take a tour of the gardens on line and check out which flowers are in season.
Insider tip: Don’t miss The Gardeners' Café, which is set on a pretty terrace garden, overlooking the lake and grounds. It serves excellent food using local ingredients such as crab.
2) Bodnant Gardens
The 80 acres include a terraced garden, a wild garden and exotic plants from around the world. Look out for autumn’s Viburnums, euonymus and berried trees.
Insider tip: For the best viewing point, go to the Top Rose Terrace and look down on the terraces and mountains beyond.
3) The National Botanical Garden of Wales
A strong emphasis on the study and sustaining of endangered plants and education. Its soaring Norman Foster-designed glasshouse, the biggest single span glasshouse in the world, has one of the best displays of Mediterranean climate zone plants in the Northern hemisphere.
Insider tip: If you have kids, visit in October when there’s a jam-packed programme of events for half term and Halloween. For green-fingered couples, there are garden tours and talks.
4) Powis Castle
In autumn, the gardens are awash with gorgeous foliage colour from trees such as Maples, Mountain Ash, Snowy Mespilius and berried shrubs. David Swanton, head gardener, recommends seeing the tropical effect borders, “Dahlias, Fuchsias, Heliotrope, Cuphea, Isopexis – before the frost sets in!”
Insider tip: Visitors rave about the café’s bara brith (Welsh cake) made to a traditional and secret recipe.
5) Portmeirion Gardens
Acre upon acre of cliff, gully, lakeside and sea views and some of the best examples of rhododendrons, azalea, tree ferns and southern hemisphere exotics you will ever see.
Insider tip: In the summer, Portmeirion draws more than 3,000 visitors a day so visit in autumn or early winter to enjoy the village and its gardens at their quietest.